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Tony Van Bynen decides not to seek re-election

Newmarket Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, has finally decided to lay down his gavel. He has announced he is not seeking re-election.  

I shall, of course, miss him.

For years he blocked me from reading his tweets but I excuse this as an eccentricity.

The persona Van Bynen projected through the pages of the Newmarket Era was almost entirely at odds with what I witnessed with my own eyes, observing him down the years.

At York Region, he was the mute Mayor, rarely venturing a view on matters outside his own patch. And often day-dreaming while crucially important matters such as the GO rail twin tracking were being discussed by others.

John Taylor’s contributions at York Regional Council eclipsed Van Bynen’s by a factor of ten.

In the Chair at Newmarket Council, Van Bynen was (and is) a competent Mayor. He could get through the business.

But he is essentially an administrator, someone comfortable with others setting the policy agenda.

Instead of rattling the bars of the cage when Metrolinx announced the twinning of the Barrie line would stop at Aurora, he meekly accepted the decision with resignation, as a fact, not to be challenged. He believed an all-day, two-way 15 minutes rail service would come to Newmarket eventually, “easing” into it as we "go forward".

As Keynes famously observed, in the long run we are all dead.

Over the years I have fired a few darts at Van Trappist but the most wounding comment I heard came from Dave Kerwin, the longest serving councillor in Canada, who taunted the Mayor in the Council Chamber in June 2016, accusing him of not being a leader.

I winced as I heard Kerwin’s denunciation. I thought it hit home. 

As with all political departures, Van Bynen’s leaving will be a one-week wonder – if that.

All eyes will turn to his successor, whoever that may be.

In due course, Van Bynen will get a boulevard or a parkette or, perhaps, a trail named after him. That's the way it goes here.

But even now, with nine months left to run before the municipal election on 22 October, the caravan is already moving on.

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